Malak picks up a ‘wick’ed hobby during pandemic


Rob Le Cates

Dennis Malak picked up candle making as a side hobby during the middle of the pandemic. He started in a corner of his garage on a single-burner portable skillet.

Adriana Hernandez-Santana, Campus Reporter

Dennis Malak started making candles in November 2022, using them as an outlet to cure his pandemic boredom and to be creative.

Whether he received his candles from family or bought them himself, he said candle making is fairly inexpensive for those who are interested.

Malak sources all of his wax from gifts or thrift stores. He said stores like Goodwill are gold mines for candles and other cheap waxes.

Before buying his new dual-burner skillet, he used an old single-burner to melt wax and an old metal tin.

Dennis Malak, pours melted wax into a mold at his home in his garage on Friday, June 3. (Rob Le Cates)

With help from his family, he started to pick up candle molds to make themed candles. 

His 7-year-old daughter Aubrey Malak loves the movie How to Train Your Dragon, so for Christmas, she got her dad a candle mold in the shape of a dragon.

In April, he decided to sell candles at Spring Fest. Spring Fest is a large-scale arts festival with art and food vendors and live music being played. 

Malak made a variety of candles, including colored pyramids, emojis, Eastern letters and flowers and sold a couple hundred dollars worth of candles. 

Dennis Malak said one of the hardest candles to make is his “EIU” one. He had trouble getting the layered colors to be solid and not blend. (Rob Le Cates)

Malak said his favorite project is his ongoing gumball machine candle. Whenever he has extra scraps of wax, he melts them into tiny balls and places them inside the machine. Once the machine is filled with wax gumballs, Malak hopes to find a clear wax to solidify the piece together.

Dennis Malak shows off one of his long term projects, his gumball machine candle. He found an old gumball machine and he decided to mold little gumballs out of scraps of wax. Once he fills up the candle, he wants to fill the candle with clear wax. (Rob Le Cates)

Through trial and error, with the addition of a few burns and spills, he got better. 

“Even if you mess up, you can start all over. There’s really no loss in it other than time, so if you’ve got the time and interests, just do it.” Malak said.